US issues Mombasa terror alert

Written By Michael Maunda on Saturday, June 23, 2012 | 2:12 AM

The United States has ordered its government officials to leave Mombasa over an "imminent threat of a terrorist attack."

The US also suspended all government travel to the coastal city until July 1.
"This is to alert all US citizens in Kenya, or planning to travel to Kenya in the near future, that the US Embassy in Nairobi has received information of an imminent threat of a terrorist attack in Mombasa, Kenya," read a statement issued by the Embassy Saturday.

"All US government travel to Mombasa is suspended until July 1, 2012.  All US government personnel are required to leave Mombasa." 

However, the Embassy said US private citizens were not affected by the travel advisory but "should consider this information in their travel planning".

On Wednesday, two containers tracked from Iraq by international police were traced to the yards of a container freight station (CFS) in Mombasa.

A squad from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit led by Coast commander Elijah Rop and backed by officers from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the CFS and isolated the containers for screening.

According to a police officer and a source at the Kenya Revenue Authority, who cannot be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media, the containers had been tracked for several weeks before entering Mombasa port.

“The information contained in the declaration form indicated the goods are building materials but we suspect there are unusual materials in the containers We are moving carefully to ensure all procedures are followed before removing the goods from the containers,” said the officer.

He said Interpol and FBI had been tracking the cargo. They dusted the containers for fingerprints.
“Nobody has been arrested regarding the cargo and no one has claimed them. We shall know the contents by tomorrow (Thursday) morning when all the materials are removed from the containers,” he said.

At the site, Mr Rop, who was heading the operation, declined to speak to journalists and referred them to Coast Provincial Police boss Aggrey Adoli.

When contacted, Mr Adoli remained elusive and described the operation as a routine exercise meant to “ensure all goods entering the Mombasa port are certified”.

Daily Nation